Saturday, July 3, 2010

Of Negativity

Rarely, people have asked me why I'm so negative.  I can't explain that, not completely, because from my perspective it seems like such a fundamental character trait.  I can give one (probably insufficient) explanation, though.

A lot of pop culture is bad.  I point this out, partially because doing so is fun, but also because I like to be helpful.  I'm a cultural tank, breathing deep the greasy exhaust of our social art engine so that you don't have to.  Later, I can refine these fumes and perhaps expel them as something incrementally better, or at least less odious.  So,  "You shouldn't read Twilight," I say to you, "because it is worse than child abuse, and reading it will give you ultracancer."

This way, when I recommend something, you know that I'm not faffing about:  this is a thing that will enrich you.  "Yes, The Sandman is incredible.  When you are done reading it, your life will have changed for the better - you will see the subtle things in our world that belie beautiful magic."

"After playing Planescape: Torment, you will be able to punch people through the moon, into the sun, but will have hands that are as soft and supple as a newborn piglet."

And so on.

So, let me tell you: Sloane Crosley's new book, How Did You Get This Number, is really quite good, despite the conspicuous absence of a question mark.  Her essays are funny, and nostalgic, and then they culminate in moments of aching beauty.  Then you're at the end and you realize that for all its mundanity and monotony, life is worth living.  She is a treasure.

Moving on.

A sneak peek at something new - my first attempt at a longer form piece in quite some time.  We'll see how it goes.  No title as of yet, though I called the version I put on Ficly, "I Will Force You to Know".  We'll call that a working title.


The first thing I remember is the way it smells  – so bad that it had lost its connection to any thing and had instead come to represent an idea, like hatred, or welfare. Maybe it had started off as rotten garbage combined with stale cigarettes and rancid diapers, then it was left to stew in some irrelevant crack of life in one those American cities we prefer to forget about.

Since then, I've discovered that every day is just another opportunity to experience the very worst that humanity has to offer. Any second you're awake is a second where you might take an unfortunate step and see some geriatric coprophiliac eating his lunch and polishing his knob with twenty-grit sandpaper he found in a dumpster next to the literal clown from whom he bought figurative magic. You might wonder why, but in doing so, you've already failed by assuming that the answer might make any sense to anyone who doesn't spend the bulk of their time eating shit, or that there is even an answer at all.

It's too close to the edge, here; too easy to look down and lose your mind.

That's all for now.

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